Articles

Relatively speaking, the world is changing really, really, fast!

September 12, 2014

Take a moment to think about all of the change that has taken place since you were born. Not just the technological change (from computers the size of small cars to exponentially more powerful devices weighing mere ounces), but also the social, scientific, and cultural progress that has occurred in the last several decades.

Now consider the Acheulean hand axe. The always-excellent podcast, 99% Invisible, released an insightful show this week looking at this primitive stone tool. 

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Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt. Simple rules for great meetings and teams

March 7, 2014

Working together is hard. Running an effective meeting can be even harder. One of the challenges is that everyone wants to be heard. To make it even more challenging, not everyone speaks up.

Setting a few ground rules is one of the surest ways to get everyone engaged while producing amazing results. Let it be known that you expect full engagement and everyone to be pulling in the same direction. My favorite set of ground rules comes out of the “New Games” movement from the 70’s. Their motto was Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt. I can’t think of a better set of guiding principles for great meetings and vibrant teams.

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Mentors are everywhere, you just need to know what to look for

February 28, 2014

Success can be finicky. For those who have made it big, the real reasons for their success are rarely the things they remember and write about. The building blocks of success are always much more subtle and nuanced.

This is where mentors come in.

In our quest for growth, progress, and success, we have this latent desire for someone who will take us under their wing and co-pilot our journey from the mailroom to the corner office. Or, more realistically, we imagine a relationship with a mentor who meets with us once or twice a month over a long period of time and imparts wisdom like a college professor working through a syllabus.

It doesn't work that way.

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Team Dynamics: Learn, Improve, Repeat.

January 31, 2014

Continuous Improvement” is a mantra for just about all areas of our businesses and — if we’re ambitious — our lives. Companies make huge investments in everything from lean manufacturing to agile software development knowing that the best way to make things better is through steady and continual improvement. We reengineer our business processes to have feedback loops so we can learn from what we have done and build on those learnings.

Learn. Improve. Repeat.

It’s a no-brainer, right? The relentless pursuit of perfection, as Lexus would say. Everything is fair game. Nothing is exempt from the beneficent outcomes of continuous improvement…

Well, almost nothing.

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The Rhythm of Productivity – Reprise

January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

As the holidays wrap up this week, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead.

A cycle of annual and quarterly planning sets the strategy that you execute with a weekly and daily rhythm. You think ‘big picture’ and chart your course broadly at the beginning of the year. Then, on a quarterly basis, you make more specific plans that help you reach those ‘big picture’ goals.

Next, every week you lay out specific activities that you are going to work on, and finally, every day you identify tasks that must be done.

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How To Take Stock And Plan For A Breakout Quarter

December 11, 2013

I love to hike. There is something deeply satisfying in loading a few provisions into a backpack and heading off into the hills. I have had the good fortune of hiking in the Colorado Rockies as well as the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.

Hiking is both an exhausting and exhilarating activity. The pack is heavy and rarely comfortable. The trail is often steep, the terrain rocky. There are times when each step is a slog. You make progress by keeping your head down and putting one foot in front of the other again and again. You find your stride.

Eventually, it’s time for a break. You reach a vista where you loosen your pack and refresh yourself with water. And then you look up. The view is amazing. Looking back, it’s hard to believe how far you’ve traveled. Looking ahead, you see the path clearly in front of you. You catch your breath, revel in your progress, affirm your course, and don the pack for another march.

The rhythm of productivity follows a similar path.

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So, you think you can dance? The choreography of networking.

November 14, 2013

Think back to the last time you were at a wedding — or any event with a dance floor. There was no shortage of well-meaning people encouraging the wallflowers, “Come on … get out on the dance floor … it’ll be fun … you’ll have a good time.”

In our Western culture we just assume that everyone can dance. But when you look at the people on the dance floor you will see a wide spectrum of skill. There will be some who are excellent dancers, with a total command of their body and the room.

At the other end of the spectrum, there will be a few who can’t dance at all and are just flailing in loose approximation to the rhythm of the music. And then there will be people who think that they are good dancers but, in all honesty, are not.

And so it is with networking.

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The Rhythm of Productivity — How To Get Stuff Done

October 9, 2013

Do you struggle to be productive? At the end of the day does it feel like there are more items on your ToDo list than there were at the beginning of the day?

There is no end to the articles and blogs and tools and apps that aim to help you be more productive. Many of them are even good. But in some ways, they’re all a bit of distraction for the task at hand: getting stuff done.

Being productive is hard. If it was easy — if an app could solve your problem — we wouldn’t see the proliferation of articles and blogs and tools and apps. 

Personal productivity is a Holy Grail: Many pursue it. Few seem to find it.

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Never Give Up!

September 2, 2013

Diana Nyad has just completed an amazing feat of endurance and perseverance. To try and put it into perspective, imagine going without sleep for 53 hours. Now imagine walking for 110 miles during those 53 hours. Finally, instead of walking, imagine swimming 110 miles in shark and jellyfish infested, open ocean during those 53 hours. It belies belief.  And yet, Diana has just accomplished this historic feat. It was her fifth attempt, trying first in…

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The Business of People

June 22, 2013

Running a business with employees is messy and fraught with challenges, not the least of which is the challenge that so many employees are also people — people who have dreams, fears, families, loneliness, hope, illness, optimism, and all of whom want to be part of a successful endeavor.

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